This week’s provocative question is a spinoff of a question that Melanie (Sparks From a Combustible Mind) asked in her last Share Your Worldpost.
That question from Melanie got me thinking about fate and predestination. So here’s this week’s provocative question.
I’m not entirely sure what “predestination” means. By this do you mean a rigid “ending” that you can’t change, no matter what? Because I don’t believe in that.
I think we end up where we are supposed to be. I don’t think it’s a rigid, unchanging finish. I think it is flexible and will change depending on the choices we make. But there’s a likely place we will probably land.
I don’t believe in a frozen, unbending future. More like a conclusion based on our intelligence, status, birthplace, education … and the things to which we are attracted and choose along our path as well as the kind of people to whom we are attracted.
This is how I like to describe it.
Life is like a bus trip, except you don’t know where you are going and you can’t drive the bus. No ticket, no map.
You will meet other travelers on the bus. Some will be your friends and maybe lovers and mates. They enter the bus at various stops and get off where they must. You may not be happy about it.
The bus will sometimes stop and give you the chance to visit and enjoy the scenery, but eventually, you’ll have to get back on the bus.
You still won’t have any idea where the bus is going and you still can’t drive. Sometimes, the road will be very rough and treacherous. Other times, the road will be smooth and the scenery beautiful. When all is smooth and lovely, you may think you’ve got everything under control.
You will never have everything under control. You never know when the bus will take a sudden turn or for that matter, drive off a bridge.
Life will take you where it takes you.
I don’t know what, if anything, God has to do with it. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. I have no idea. But if prayer makes you feel better, I say go for it. Because whatever makes you feel better — especially if it costs nothing — is worth doing.
Do you believe that terminally ill people should be allowed or encouraged to end their lives via physician-assisted suicide? If so, under any circumstances or should there be restrictions? If not, why not?
At last, a question into which I can sink my fangs!
On a personal level, I say yes, yes, and yes again. If I will put one of my dogs out of his or her misery, why should a human suffer the agony of a terminal illness when we wouldn’t do it to our pets? Other countries — I believe Holland is one — allows humans the right to end their lives in peace and dignity, but in this country, we are not. Nor in England, from whom much of our law comes.
Do I think anyone under any conditions should be allowed to end their life? Maybe not. But this is something that the medical community should seriously look at and come to some kind of resolution. Many doctors — privately — will help a dying person, especially one in a vegetative state, to die by simply not treating an illness. But it depends on the individual physician and his or her relationship to religion, faith, or whatever. And some simply won’t do something which might endanger their license.
My son promised to take me behind the shed and blow my head off if I got that bad. But really, I’d rather be prepared — just in case. I don’t know how many times I’ve signed a paper saying “Please, just let me die!” — but each time I’m in the hospital, they ask me to sign again. For some reason, they can’t seem to remember what I said last time.
You know, before medicine made it possible for the terminally ill to linger on for sometimes years rather than dying quickly, people didn’t linger indefinitely with machines to make them breathe and tubes to provide nourishment. When an illness became that bad, we died. Like we were supposed to.
I’m in favor of that. At least allow us to die when we are ready to die. If nothing else, please — turn off the machinery.
For six and a half years, Serendipity was the name of this blog. One day WordPress decided the money I pay per wasn’t enough to protect the title of my blog and for months, we disappeared.
Eventually, I had to come up with a “more unique name” so readers could find us. Three (four? five?) months later, now we are “Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth” and the only way you will find all of my 8,000 posts is by using at least half of the full annoyingly long title — or the name of whoever posted it.
A few years ago, a few more people started writing for the blog and now, we are five. Right now, Garry isn’t writing much because he’s between surgery and techno-hearing-headgear and just hasn’t felt like it, but usually, he does write. Intermittently, by mood.
Rich Paschall has been writing, always on Sunday, but sometimes other days. Now that he is retiring, I expect to hear more from him. He has also been an incredible help to me when I’ve been out sick for long periods of time, especially when I was in for, then recovering from, a massive amount of heart surgery.
I don’t know if this site would have survived without his assistance and I will always be deeply grateful for his caring and concern, even though we’ve never personally met. I keep hoping one of these days, we will meet!
Friends Ellin and Tom Curley — well, we’ve been friends a long time. Tom, and Garry and I all worked at the same college radio station and Ellin is the wife Tom always needed but didn’t know until they met. I love happy marriages!
Tom writes when his personal lightning hits while Ellin is a loyal, regular writer and is beginning to get the hang of photography as another way of writing the story.
All of us have a lot to say.
Garry talks about his life as a TV news reporter and all the people he met along the way. Tom talks about his life and views as a TV director, producer, and engineer. Not to mention his post TV life doing Audio theater — of which Ellin is also a major component.
Everyone has a LOT to say about the political world, mostly not very good stuff, but that’s the way it is these days.
“Serendipity is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” – Dictionary Definition.
Basically, life is all serendipity. I started this site 6-1/2 years ago and have garnered more than 700,000 (closing rapidly on 800,000) views from almost every country on the planet. And still, I see a frightful lack of intelligent life on Earth.
Stupidity is exploding at an unsustainable rate. I thought we had reached epic levels of stupid, but there’s just no stopping it.
Watching Jim Jeffries last night “interviewing” the Q people who also appear to be “flat world” believers … and believe Hillary Clinton kills babies for their blood. All of which beliefs are based on zero evidence. None of these bizarre “humans” think “proof” or “evidence” is important. Stupidity reigneth.
When you witness that sort of thing, not only do you get a splitting headache, but you realize seeking intelligent life on Earth may be a futile effort. To seek, yet never find.
There is no intelligent life on Earth. We are like Arthur’s knights seeking a Grail that never got to Britain and possibly never existed. Yet we seek it.
Serendipity? Well, there are two reasons for it as this blog’s title.
First, there is a lovely chocolate shop in Manhattan named “Serendipity.” They serve an iced chocolate that is to die for. When I was a teener, it was the place to be, the coolest place in the big city. It continues to exist and I’m betting it’s still the place to be, especially if you live in New York, are young, and looking for life.
The other reason is more obvious. Life is serendipity. You go looking for one thing, you find something else. While you are “settling for that other thing,” you discover you like it more than whatever you were looking for.
We are born. Have no idea who we are or what we will be. We never really know who we are or what we will be. We make choices, but they don’t work out or they work for a while and then everything changes. We live utterly different lives than our “plans.”
Because life isn’t something to be planned. It’s life. It just is.
Our three dogs think they have the whole subliminal thing down pat. Like last night.
Thunder was rolling through the valley. Not very loud thunder, but definitely thunder. Rolling. It might mean rain … or just the heat of the day breaking up. Our dogs are not particularly nervous about noise. Guns, fire-crackers, thunder? Meh. Only when lightning actually hits the house does everyone — human and otherwise — react.
It’s hard to not react when a bolt of lightning hits the house or relatively nearby. It hit a pole in front of the house and burned out two computers — and they weren’t even turned on. It hit the pump in our well — 450 feet (that would be almost 138 meters) underground.
I thought that was really weird, but the guy from the insurance company was unphased. He said the combination of electric current, iron, and water had a way of enticing lightning. Not so unusual after all.
I was really unbelievably grateful we had insurance!
Meanwhile, our dogs have figured out when there’s a storm, we check on them, just to make sure they aren’t getting weird. I don’t think they have any idea why we check on them, but they know it’s something about storms, so as the thunder roared across the valley, they poked their three little noses into the bedroom.
Bonnie was first because she’s the dominant canine. Also, she knows Garry will let her do anything.
“Hi there,” she said, waving a furry black paw.
Gibbs’ nose appeared next. “Hi Mom, Dad. How’re things hanging with youse guys?”
Of course, The Duke was grinning up at us. Panting a little bit and using one of his front paws to point to the kitchen. Where the food is. Because nothing makes a dog less apprehensive about rolling thunder than a quick snack.
They were so cute that I got up and gave them one of the little treats.
We have treats in three sizes. Small, which isn’t small unless your dog is a Wolfhound or St. Bernard. Pretty small, which is maybe the size of the upper joint of your thumb. And teeny, tiny … maybe the size of my littlest fingernail. That’s the one I give them when they are looking particularly beefy. They are all permanently on a diet, too.
But since they’d gotten me up and into the kitchen once, they were sure they had it nailed. As I was getting back into bed I heard the little “scratch, scratch” on the door. This is a big improvement over Bonnie and Duke’s previous method which was to fling themselves — TOGETHER — against the door.
Our interior door are not all that sturdy and this usually meant an explosion of dogs into the bedroom. That did not go over well with me. Garry, of course, slept through it. Will he sleep through it after he can hear? Because having your dogs break down your door is pretty damned loud, deaf or not. Even if you can’t hear it, you can certainly FEEL it.
We discussed the whole “breaking down the door” thing. I explained that if they didn’t cut it out, I was going to put all of them into crates. They didn’t like that idea.
So now, it’s a gentle scratch and if I didn’t fully close the door, a little push and a few noses in the doorway.
That is our dogs’ version of subliminal. Really subtle. Below the level of our inferior human understanding.
Duke is smart. Too smart for his own good and not as smart as he thinks — and seems to feel we need clear instructions about how to do what we ought to do. Since he can’t type, he points. With paws and nose and sometimes, entire body.
They all lick their jowls, just in case we aren’t clear that what they are hoping for is food.
After I told them to cut it out and settle down, they did. But don’t imagine for a moment that they’ve given up. All the subtle hints — like pushing the 40-pound crate of food into the living room, for example — will continue. I suppose we could try to discipline our dogs. Make them “obey” us. But I’ve never really had an obedient dog.
They all do pretty much whatever they want, even when they know better. I don’t really mind because they are much more fun “au naturale.”
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